2362. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 11 January 1814
2362. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 11 January 1814 *
Keswick. Jany. 11. 1814.
My dear R.
The inclosed epistle to George 1st will bear the delay of its circuitous route. It carries a refusal of subscribing to the Literary Fund,  unless cause be shewn for reversing the opinion which I entertain of that said Funds uselessness & despicability.
Your M Chronicle  went far toward putting me in better humour with the Carmen Castratum.  I am disposed to acquit Hazlitt, not because he owes me a good turn for enabling him to escape from Cumberland,  but because if he wished to do me an ill one, I should expect that the ill will would be accompanied with more ability. The criticism is bad, – the verses Carmen is simply good-for-nothing. – The stone which was rejected I have made the cornerstone of an ode interpretive invective, & devoratory,  which is gone to the Courier to be inserted (anonymously) – or not, at Stuarts discretion. – I have heard on such authority as left no doubt in my mind of its truth, that Pichergru expired under the torture; & I believe that Wright was tortured & then murdered that he might tell no tales; the official account of their death was in the first case physically impossible, & in the second absurd. Had I been son or brother of Wright, Palm or Hofer this earth should not have held me & the murderer. 
God bless you
* Address: To/ John Rickman Esqre
Endorsement: RS/ 11 Janry 1814
MS: Huntington Library, RS 219. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 92–93. BACK
 A benevolent fund, set up in 1790, to help published British writers who were in financial difficulties. BACK
 Hazlitt’s review of ‘Carmen Triumphale’ had appeared in the Morning Chronicle, 8 January 1814. BACK
 The Laureate ode Carmen Triumphale, published, after much revision, in a quarto of 30 pages on 1 January 1814. BACK
 i.e. after the controversial spanking episode of 1803, when Southey and others had aided Hazlitt’s escape from the Lake District. BACK
 ‘Ode Written During the Negotiations with Bonaparte’, published in the Courier, 3 February 1814. It made use of the five controversial stanzas deleted from the published text of Carmen Triumphale. BACK
 The ninth stanza of ‘Ode Written During the Negotiations with Bonaparte’ accused the Bonapartist regime of murdering: Jean-Charles Pichegru (1761–1804), who was found strangled in his prison cell after returning to France to lead a royalist uprising; the British naval officer John Wesley Wright (1769–1805; DNB), captured on the French coast in 1804 and suspected of landing Pichegru and other opponents of the regime, he was found with his throat cut in prison the following year, a reported suicide; the German bookseller Johann Philipp Palm (1768–1806), executed without trial for publishing an attack on Bonaparte; and the Tyrolean patriot Andreas Hofer (1767–1810), executed for his leadership of a failed rebellion against France’s ally, Bavaria. BACK